Guidance

Apply for a UK visa in the USA

Published 10 April 2014

To apply for a UK visa in the USA you need to:

  • apply online
  • pay your fee
  • go to your appointment
  • post your application

1. Pay your fee

Follow the instructions when you apply online to pay your fee.

2. Go to your appointment

You must book your biometric appointment at an application support centre when you apply online. This is to have your photo and fingerprints taken (known as ‘biometric information’) by the US Department of Homeland Security at the place you choose when you make your appointment. When you visit for biometrics, take your current passport and a copy of your biometric confirmation receipt. You can print this after you apply.

Print out your application form and bring this with you. Please don’t bring mobile phones, cameras and other recording devices inside US Department of Homeland Security application support centres because they are not allowed.

3. Post your application

Your biometric confirmation receipt will be stamped at your appointment. You then have 2 weeks to post this copy of your application form, your passport and your supporting documents to UK Visas and Immigration.

You should post your application to:

Non-settlement applications

UK Visas and Immigration
British Consulate General
845 Third Avenue
New York
10022

Settlement applications

International Operations and Visas
6 Millsands
Vulcan House
Sheffield
S3 8NH
United Kingdom

3.1 Return shipping

To have your documents returned you must provide a fully addressed prepaid electronic shipping label (no ground services and no non-electronic waybills). Put your return shipping label and envelope inside the package, and keep a copy of the waybill for your records.

4. Priority visa service

This is an optional service where you can pay an extra fee to fast track your application and have your visa application processed ahead of others.

Priority service applications will be placed at the front of the queue to be processed ahead of non-priority applications.You must pay for the priority visa service online on the VFS Global ‘user pay services’ page before you post your application.

We aim to process applications within 5 business days but the process may take longer during our peak times. The processing time does not include posting to and from New York or Sheffield and this will vary, depending on where you live.

The fee is $170 US for non settlement applications, and $510 US for settlement applications. Print off the receipt and include it with your application when you post it to one of the addresses above, writing the words ‘priority service’ in large black print on the outer envelope.

You cannot purchase the priority service at the biometric enrolment centre.

You should not use this service if you have had any adverse immigration issues in the past.

Your application may take longer if you:

  • do not include the priority service receipt with your application, or submit it afterwards
  • do not write ‘priority service’ clearly on the outer envelope
  • have sent your application to the wrong location
  • have previously been refused a visa for the UK, or refused leave to enter the UK
  • have previously been deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK
  • have overstayed a period of leave in the UK
  • have previously been refused a visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America or the Schengen countries
  • have been convicted of a criminal offence in any country
  • do not submit all relevant documentation with your application

Use of the service is optional and does not imply or guarantee that your visa application will be successful. All visa applicants must meet the requirements of the UK Immigration Rules. The fee for the priority service and the visa application fee are not refundable if your visa application is refused.

4.1 Registered couriers and agents

UK Visas and Immigration in New York allows registered courier companies and agencies to submit visa applications in person on behalf of UK visa applicants daily. If you wish to submit an application this way you will have to pay the priority service fee. If you would like a courier or agent to submit your application as well as collect your documents you should contact them directly.

You will have to submit your biometric information before using a registered courier. Registered couriers and agency staff do not play any part in, or influence the outcome of visa applications. If you choose to use a courier you will also have to pay additional fees.

5. Contact us

You can contact our International Enquiry Service provided by Hinduja Global Solutions who work in partnership with UK Visas and Immigration. Emailing the service is free, speaking directly to an advisor costs £1.37 per minute and a 10 minute webchat will cost £4.

From the US dial 1-888-683-9699. Opening hours are 7am to 4pm EDT. Calls can be handled in English or Spanish.

HGS staff do not play any part in, or influence the outcome of visa applications.

Make a complaint

Letters or emails about decisions to refuse a UK visa will not be treated as complaints. If you do not agree with the decision on your visa application, please use the existing appeals channels.

If you have a complaint about how your visa application has been handled, or the conduct of UK Visas and Immigration staff you should write to the Entry Clearance Manager and send your letter of complaint to the address where you posted your UK visa application. Alternatively, you can send your complaint by email using our International Enquiry Service.